New black panther party intimidating voters

"The department makes enforcement decisions based on the merits, not the race, gender or ethnicity of any party involved," Schmaler said.

An internal probe by the Office of Professional Responsibility is pending, she said.

That message is that the filing of voting cases like the Ike Brown and the NBPP cases would not continue in the Obama administration."Coates also said that before his resignation in 2009, a senior political official ordered him to stop asking job candidates if they'd be willing to prosecute equal-protection cases against whites as well as blacks.

Tom Perez, the current attorney general for civil rights, has denied Coates's claims.

He said he had seen evidence that Obama appointees in the Department of Justice had created a "hostile atmosphere" toward attorneys pushing to prosecute blacks for voting-rights violations – a charge the Justice Department denies.

The current Civil Rights Commission investigation is specifically focusing on why Justice Department attorneys dropped charges against two New Black Panther Party members who brandished a nightstick at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008.

The controversy will continue to play out before the Commission on Civil Rights, which plans to issue a report in September.